2017: Hulu’s Reflections on TV Streaming

By: Catherine Beley, Senior Data Analyst Lead

Well, here we are. The final days of 2017 and we’d like to raise a glass to a truly spectacular year of television. Whether you were more South Park than The Handmaid’s Tale, or more obsessed with the This is Us cliffhanger than the big game, TV – both live and on-demand – brought people together this year.

Here’s a look at the top moments that defined our TV watching this year.

More people needed to laugh more often. 
2017 was a challenging year for many. A year that required the medicine of laughter and longer escapes from reality. In 2017, Hulu viewers watched 36 percent more comedy movies than they did in 2016, but the increase in laughs wasn’t limited to just movies. Americans also watched more top comedy TV shows vs. 2016, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (+20 percent), The Goldbergs (+20 percent), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (+29 percent), Parks and Recreation (+32 percent) and Black-ish (+104 percent).

Men are from Mars…and Women are from Mars too? 
In many ways, TV watching is nearly identical across genders. Men and women share similar viewing patterns on Hulu (upswing starting at 6-7 p.m. EST, peaking at 9 p.m. EST) and they share device preference (favoring living room streaming devices, followed by computers, tablets and phones).

What’s more, the top viewed live programming for men and women is identical. Men aren’t the only avid sports fans out there. Women also prefer to watch live sports over all other live content. The truth is, video killed the stereotype. But there can only be one winner when it comes to watching the most hours of TV and for the past two years, women held that title averaging 232 hours per subscriber!

Turns out Americans prefer live TV and on-demand. 
We live in an on-demand world. There are more options than ever before to watch what you want when you want. But if you think on-demand is preferred, you’d be wrong. With both live TV and on-demand options, Hulu understands what Americans want most. And the answer is both.

In fact, among Hulu viewers with a live TV plan, about half (47 percent) watched both live TV and on-demand content each day; with 57 percent of those hours consumed by live content and 43 percent consumed by SVOD content. And when viewers can get live and on-demand all in one place, overall hours watched increases across all content by over 100 percent[i].

Most of us own a phone, but we prefer social viewing on the big screen. 
Just like the year before it, in 2017, living room devices were the most popular way of streaming TV content. Despite 77 percent of Americans owning a smartphone[ii], we still prefer to watch TV in the living room. And we don’t like to watch alone: 59 percent watch with a partner or spouse, 31 percent with children and another 30 percent with friends or other family members[iii]. When are we watching together the most each week? Sunday still rules.

Viewers watched a lot of South Park.
Americans streamed more than 107 million hours of South Park on Hulu in 2017. Season 20, episode 10 “The End of Serialization as We Know it” was the most watched episode.

Family Guy, Law & Order SVUBob’s Burgers and Rick and Morty were also popular titles in 2017As you might have guessed – The Handmaid’s Tale was the #1 viewed Hulu original and viewers couldn’t get episodes fast enough with sixty-six percent of each new episode viewing occurring within the first three days of availability[iv].

Daddy’s Home was the most watched movie.
Is there a more irresistible pairing than Ferrell and Wahlberg? The data says “no, there is not.” Daddy’s Home was watched more than 12 million times in 2017. Quite a change from 2016’s top movie: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

Hulu’s #1 streamer watched 48x more hours than the average viewer. 
Cheers to this superior streamer who watched 48 times more hours of content than the average Hulu viewer – including 654 movies and 195 different TV series.

Montana takes the title of #1 Hulu streaming state.
A first for Big Sky Country, Montana! The state stole the crown for the “most hours streamed, per subscriber” title from Wisconsin, which held the top spot for the previous two years. North Dakota took the second spot in 2017 followed by Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

Methodology
Overall data based on the yearly viewing trends on Hulu between January 1, 2016 and November 22, 2017.

[i] Hulu Internal Data, May 2017-November 2017.
[ii] Pew Research Center Survey, November 2016.
[iii] Streaming Isn’t Solitary – Why Audience Measurement is Mission Critical; Hulu Viewers Survey Data, E-Poll, January 2017.
[iv] The Dynamics of Choice; Source: Hulu Internal Portal, April 2017-June 2017. Based on viewing within 7 days of episode release.

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